What are lean management methods?

Lean management methods can be applied to analyze and optimize operational processes. With the help of the various methods, efficiency, quality and customer satisfaction can be increased, while waste is minimized. For example, the following lean management methods can be used to achieve these goals: 5S, Poka Yoke, Quality Gates and Kanban.

What is the goal of lean management?

The goal of lean management is to maximize value for customers by reducing waste. This is achieved by eliminating or greatly reducing all activities that do not add value. Lean management aims to make a company more efficient and effective by focusing on continuous improvement, process optimization and customer focus. It aims to ensure that every step in the process adds value for the customer and that resources are used as effectively as possible.

A list of typical lean management methods

  1. Value-stream mapping A value stream analysis (value-stream mapping) is used to identify improvement potential in processes. The aim is to visualize, analyze and optimize the flow of materials and information within a process or a value chain.

  2. PDCA cycle The PDCA cycle is a quality management concept and consists of four successive phases: Planning (Plan), Implementation (Do), Monitoring (Check) and Improvement (Act). It is a recurring process designed to contribute to continuous improvements in a company.

  3. 5S The 5S method is used to improve the workplace. The goal of the method is to create an optimal work environment in order to work efficiently. The 5S stand for: Seiri (sort), Seiton (set in order), Seiso (shine), Seiketsu (standardize) and Shitsuke (sustain).

  4. Kanban Kanban is a concept that aims to increase the efficiency and flexibility of production processes by visualizing and controlling the flow of materials and information. So-called Kanban cards are used to signal the demand for a specific production process or production material and to control replenishment.

  5. Poka Yoke Poka Yoke is a concept for error prevention. By avoiding (yoke) errors (poka), continuous quality improvement is to be achieved. Poka Yoke measures are used to design processes and systems in such a way that errors are automatically detected and corrected and do not occur in the future.

  6. Kaizen Kaizen is a method that refers to the continuous improvement and increase in efficiency in organizations and processes. In doing so, Kaizen relies on the participation of all employees and on continuous monitoring and review of processes. The term Kaizen is made up of the words Kai (change) and Zen (good), which roughly means "change for the better".

  7. Quality Gates A quality gate is a critical point or milestone in a project at which certain quality criteria are checked before the next project phase can start. The goal of quality gates is to identify and resolve problems at an early stage in order to reduce the effort and cost of rework and corrections.

Want to learn more about lean production in the digital age?

5 Lean Manufacturing Principles in Times of Digitalization

In this blog post, we would like to highlight the five basic principles of lean production in the age of digitalization. How do intuitive worker assistance systems help to comply with the principles and what are the benefits?